ALLENTOWN, PA – Congressman Charlie Dent (PA-15) expressed concerns regarding a final rule issued by the Federal Highway and Federal Transit Administrations, entitled “Metropolitan Planning Organization Coordination and Planning Area Reform,” that would impact state and local transportation plans and future resource disbursements.

“I am disappointed by the final rule that has been issued by the Department of Transportation, and will be working in partnership with local organizations and my colleagues in the House of Representatives to ensure that our communities continue to retain the lead in decisions about our local infrastructure projects. The Metropolitan Planning Organizations in Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District currently serve their residents well by truly understanding and addressing the local needs of the community, providing residents with a voice in the decision-making process, and coordinating with each other to address regional issues that may cross jurisdictional boundaries,” Dent said.

This rule would require Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) representing communities within a larger Metropolitan Area—which could include entities in other states and cities with competing interests to those of Pennsylvania’s drivers and residents—to develop a single set of transportation plans and standards.

“I am concerned that these new requirements will create unnecessary competition among MPOs, make it harder for local concerns to receive the attention they deserve, and delay responsiveness,” Dent added. “The MPOs in my district currently work with each other, and the state of Pennsylvania, to solve larger regional issues. While the stated goal of this rule is to improve planning within larger Metropolitan Areas, I believe that it has the potential to create new difficulties for MPOs that were already addressing such challenges. Such decisions and collaborative agreements should be handled at the community level and not compelled by a one-size-doesn’t-fit-all approach imposed by a federal agency. I will work with the incoming Administration and through my work in Congress to allow local decisions to remain at the local level.” 

Congressman Dent had previously sent a letter to Secretary Anthony Foxx, the head of the U.S. Department of Transportation, regarding this issue, a copy of which has been attached.

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For more information, please visit: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/20/2016-30478/metropolitan-planning-organization-coordination-and-planning-area-reform

CONTACT: Emily Rauch (202) 225-6411